27 Jun 2024

A guide to construction terms

A guide to construction terms

A guide to construction terms

In construction, clear communication is essential for every successful project. From the initial design phase to the final handover, professionals across the industry rely on specialised terminology to describe tools, techniques, materials, and procedures. This guide/glossary of construction terms looks to provide some clear definitions to some of the more niche terms that pop up particularly on complex builds in the pharma, semiconductor and data centre construction sectors. 


CDR: A construction daily report is a log that lists the events that occurred during a work day on a construction site. This includes the weather conditions, material inventories and work performed, among other details.


Change order (CO): This is a change to the original contract scope of work, which can result in either an increase or decrease in the project costs and/or schedule. This can be issued by a client to the general contractor or the general contractor to a subcontractor.


CMMS: The term “computerised maintenance management system” (CMMS) refers to a software program that helps technicians, planners, and schedulers coordinate maintenance tasks and extend the life and dependability of equipment and assets.


CDE: This stands for Common Data Environment and is a cloud-based space where information from construction projects is stored and accessible to project participants. This access depends on participants’ requirements or level of authorisation, as well as their contractual obligations.


Commissioning (Cx): The process for examining and confirming that the building’s systems—such as the HVAC, plumbing, electrical, lighting, and life safety—are operating as planned. The contractor usually works with the facility management team to accomplish this in order to ensure that the building crew is equipped to maintain and operate the building’s systems and equipment.


Contingencies: The cost provisions in the project budget that make allowance for oversights and unforeseen circumstances associated with the project. Depending on the nature of the contract, the contractor may require owner’s approval to draw funds from contingencies.


CSA: This stands for Civil, Structural & Architectural.


CTOP’s: Construction turnover packs that pull in data from multiple contractors, across all relevant project disciplines, to allow for the delivery of full system turnover packs.


C&Q: Commissioning & Qualification is the procedure for determining and verifying that equipment, utilities, systems, and facilities are appropriate for their intended uses.


Design Package: This is where all design drawings and associated documentation is gathered for approval and comment by stakeholders. 


Document Control: As a component of project management, construction document control is concerned with all associated documents that outline the specifics of construction and post-occupancy operations.


EHS: Ensuring worker safety on building sites is known as environment, health, and safety (EHS) in construction. During a building project, it is a usual practice to develop protocols and procedures that guarantee the safety of all employees.


ETOP:  This stands for Engineering Turnover Packs that pull in data from multiple contractors, across all relevant project disciplines, to allow for the delivery of full system turnover packs.


EU GMP Annex 11: This is a guideline the European Union (EU) issued regarding using computerised systems in good manufacturing practices (GMP) for human and veterinary medicinal products. The guideline outlines requirements for implementing and validating computerised systems to ensure data integrity, accuracy, and security in GMP-related activities.


FAT: It stands for Factory Acceptance Test and is a process in which a manufacturer tests a machine or system before it is delivered to the client.


HVAC: The equipment, terminals, and distribution systems that supply a building or a section of a building with the heating, ventilation, or air conditioning processes, either collaboratively or separately. Basically, the setup of machines that make a room or space warmer or cooler.


IR: This stands for “inspection request” which is a form required by independent third-party inspectors to confirm an installation detail or method. It is often used for work such as welding, anchoring, and concrete pours.


Isometric: It is a type of pictorial drawing in which three sides of an object are drawn at full scale so that the relationships between different parts of the object can be seen clearly. This type of drawing is often used in architectural engineering and particularly in complex builds to accurately represent an object or structure.


Method Statement: A method statement describes, in a logical, step-by-step manner, how a specific task should be done. A method statement considers the health and safety implications of a task and should contain the control measures that must be followed to reduce risk. Method statements are normally used for high-risk activities in construction, such as demolition.


MSDS: It stands for a Material Safety Data Sheet and is a document that provides information on the properties of hazardous chemicals and how they affect health and safety on the construction site and  in the workplace.


PCC: Project Change Control is the process through which all requests to change the approved baseline of a project, are captured, evaluated and then approved, rejected or deferred.


Project Communication: Involves active listening, understanding the needs and expectations of different stakeholders, and adapting communication styles to suit the audience.


P&ID’s: ‘Piping and Instrumentation Diagram’ is an abbreviation of P&ID. Process system representations can be shown graphically in piping and instrumentation diagrams. These are essential components of all standard engineering projects.


Punch List: A list of all items that need to be fixed before the building or project can be turned over to the client. Punch list items are also known as snags or deficiencies, and include things like paint scratches, damaged siding, cleanup, welds etc. This process comes at the end of the project after a preliminary walkthrough of the jobsite. The final punch list is usually tied to a cost withheld from the contractor until it is completed and verified.


Quality Assurance: By establishing ‘rules’ concerning minimum quality and making sure all decisions follow these standards, quality assurance is a technique for preventing possible errors in a building project.


RFI’S: In the construction industry, Request for Information is a formal business procedure used to request clarification about documents, drawings, specifications, or other project conditions. 


Rough-in: The initial stage of the wall framing, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing installation. This covers every element that won’t be seen once the project is finished. Usually, an inspection of all trade rough-ins is required before insulation and finish installation.


Systems Startup Matrix: Combining all design, construction and commissioning data within a software like EIDA, the System Startup Matrix knits together all related assets (tags) and services on one screen.


Spool fabrication: A piping system consists of prefabricated components; these components are called pipe spools. Pipe spools include pipes, flanges, fittings, elbows, tees, etc. Pipe spools connect long pipes with flanges at the ends so they can be attached to another pipe with a matching flange.


Submittals: Submittals in construction are documents, samples, and other information that must be delivered to architects, engineers, consultants, and more on a project before work begins.


Test Pack: Test packs are used to check if piping systems have been installed correctly. Each line in a system has a test pack number associated with it. After a piping system has been tested and the results found satisfactory, a certificate is included in the test pack that is signed off by authorised personnel indicating that the system has been verified.


Turnover: The process of handing over a finished building from the contractor to the group in charge of its management and care during its lifetime is known as “building turnover.” 


VTOP: VTOP’s stands for Vendor Turnover Packs. VTOP’s are put together with the guarantee that all paperwork has been reviewed and adheres with client vendor documentation standards. They are mostly compiled from the vendor submittal feature in EIDA.


Vendor Documentation Requirements (VDR): These are the documentation deliverables expected by the client for vendors. VDR’s are assigned to equipment purchase orders and guide vendors through expected documentation requirements. 


Weld History: Is a process whereby all your welding processes can be tracked and documented and allows you to know the status of a weld as well as the history. 


21 CFR Part 11 (EU): 21 CFR Part 11 provides criteria for the use of electronic records, electronic signatures, and handwritten signatures, which are captured for an electronic record and are considered “equivalent to paper records and handwritten signatures executed on paper” in FDA-regulated industries.

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